Instrumental Ensembles

Our aim at Benenden is to ensure that every girl learning an instrument is given the opportunity to enjoy the musical, intellectual and social benefits that come from being part of an ensemble. In order to achieve this aim, we run a wide selection of groups each week with repertoire carefully chosen to be both playable and appealing to the girls.

Our flagship groups - the Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and the Lime Avenue Jazz Band - regularly perform at high profile concerts and at functions around London and the South East. 

Benenden Symphony Orchestra (Director: Mr E Whiting)

Benenden Symphony Orchestra is open to young musicians from both Benenden and the surrounding area that have reached the equivalent of Grade 6 or above. We rehearse from 5.30pm to 7.00pm on Wednesday evenings between September and the early Summer Term. Recent highlights include a concert in Drapers' Hall, London alongside the internationally renowned violinist Tasmin Little. Our season traditionally ends with a large-scale orchestral concert at Benenden’s Arts Festival in the Summer Term.

Recent repertoire covered includes:

  • Adams Short Ride in a Fast Machine
  • Arnold English Dances
  • Beethoven Symphony No. 5, No. 7
  • Bizet Carmen Suite
  • Britten Soirées musicales
  • Elgar Nimrod 
  • Haydn Symphony No 104. in D Major
  • Holst Mars from The Planets
  • Marquez Danzon No. 2
  • Mozart Horn Concerto No. 4
  • Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23
  • Mozart Violin Concerto No.4
  • Ravel Bolero
  • Rossini Overture: The Italian Girl from Algiers
  • Shostakovich Jazz Suite No.2
  • Vaughan–Williams The Lark Ascending
  • Walton Crown Imperial
  • Williams J. The Empire Strikes Back, E.T. Harry Potter, Indiana Jones (with accompanying films)

Chamber Orchestra (Director: Ms C Biss)

The Chamber Orchestra is formed from the members of the Benenden Symphony Orchestra. This advanced ensemble gives the School's leading string players the opportunity to tackle advanced chamber repertoire. Alongside School concerts, the Orchestra often accompanies our choirs and plays at the Carol Services.

Lime Avenue Jazz Band (Director: Mr J Fitzgerald)

Lime Avenue Jazz Band combines our top wind and brass instrumentalists with a rhythm section of the School’s best bass, drum kit, piano and guitar players. The Band has benefited from working with a number of established names from the British Jazz scene including Dennis Rollins, Steve Waterman, members of NYJO and The James Taylor Quartet. 

The group also performs at various School functions and fundraisers in prestigious London venues, such as The Savoy and The Landmark Hotel.

Other Ensembles

There are a wide range of other groups rehearsing each week, getting girls happily involved and generally making the music department a buzzy, exciting place for all our young musicians to come to.

The Concert Orchestra is for girls in Years 7, 8 and 9 up to approximately Grade 5 standard, and is a valuable experience for young musicians to build their experience of ensemble playing before joining our more advanced ensembles.

Smaller groups also have important roles to play in the Benenden musical programme with dedicated saxophone, flute, recorder, brass and percussion ensembles, as well as string trios and quartets rehearsing each week and performing regularly.

There are a number of singer/songwriter partnerships and rock bands working on their own repertoire and recording their work using the latest technology.